Brad Foster's call for a cultural centrepiece for Vernon in the Dec. 30 issue of The Morning Star is worthy of support. Stimulated by the same news reports as Mr. Foster, I suspect a similar idea wafted through my grey cells.
I've done a little research leading to a scaled, rough sketch. I am led to believe that the museum/archives would like to expand to about 24,000-square-feet with an opportunity to expand somewhat more in 15 or 20 years. Similarly, the art gallery indicates a current need for about 16,000-square-feet now, expandable in the future.
The former Coldstream Hotel site has an area of about 71,600-square-feet. having the art gallery and museum/archives on the same site has a number of synergies in its favour. The blocking out of various uses suggests the following could occur:
Level one: Underground parking accessible from 31st Avenue.
Level two: A central landscaped entry court off 32nd Avenue leading to a two-storey atrium foyer with stairs, elevator, etc. serving the various levels. The art gallery off on one side of the foyer with the museum off to the other. A restaurant could be straight ahead with patio dining adjacent to a landscaped sculpture court between the art gallery and the museum. Facing a sunny southern exposure, running along both 29th and 30th streets, would be rows of shops which would accommodate future expansion for both main functions. A sloping roof covering access to the underground parking could become an attractive water feature.
Levels three and possibly four: Rental or strata office space and possibly a roof terrace restaurant.
Upper levels: To the building height felt suitable would be rental or strata, or both, apartment units topped by several penthouse suites. This residential tower could be quite uniquely sculptural.
The whole would be well landscaped at ground level and at various rooftop levels above.
It seems the art gallery is wanting to push ahead as the museum seems to be lacking in energy to get on with promoting its wishes. However, it seems the current site proposed for the art gallery is totally inadequate in terms of parking and access.
The above proposal, which could be a less costly public/private partnership, seems more worthy of being termed a cultural centrepiece for Vernon as Brad Foster suggests.
C. Wills, Vernon